Youth at-risk: An Uncertain Future
Last year in Montgomery County, approximately 6% of the youth served by CASA “aged out” of care. Youth age out of the foster care system when they achieve age-defined adulthood at 18.
This typically means these young people were not able to benefit from reuniting with their family or a permanent family situation with relatives or through adoption. These youth often leave care after relatively long stays in the system, so they tend to lack the support, skills, and resources required for a healthy, productive, independent adulthood. While this may not apply to all, for a significant proportion of youths in foster care, the basic goals of a higher education, employment, and stable housing remain elusive.
CASA Advocates Step Up
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County offers a special training program, Fostering Futures, for Advocates who serve these older youth in care. During the 7-hour training, Advocates learn about tactics, methods and resources they can use to help the youth transition more successfully upon aging out of the system.
One training topic of particular importance is helping the youth identify adults who will remain in the their life and may be able to provide support and guidance in the future. This might be teachers, coaches, counselors, case workers, or others, including the CASA Advocate.
In addition to the Fostering Futures training for Advocates, CASA hosts a number of opportunities every summer for older youth to learn some of the life skills they will need as they enter adulthood. During the summer of 2017, CASA will offer basic cooking classes, an on-site mock apartment renting experience, and a mock car buying experience at a local dealership. In addition, CASA organizes college campus tours for youth in care, including upcoming tours to Sam Houston State University, University of Houston, Lone Star College and Stephen F. Austin University.
A CASA Advocate is focused on the child’s best interest. Advocates who work with older youth strive to help the child overcome his or her past and not only survive emancipation but thrive in life.
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County strives to make futures better for these children/young adults. Won’t you join us?